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Joseph Lieberman on Free Trade

Democratic Jr Senator (CT), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


NAFTA has caused some job loss, but net gain of 900,000 jobs

Q: NAFTA has become the bogeyman of this campaign. It was passed by your party. Was it a mistake?

A: It was not a mistake. Twenty-two million new jobs created in the eight Clinton years. Trade was a key part of that, and NAFTA, though it's cost some jobs, has actually netted out 900,000 new jobs that were created by NAFTA. Very few of the jobs lost are going to Mexico and Canada. They're going to Asia. And there the Bush administration hasn't had the guts to stand up to China.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary Debate in Greenville SC Jan 29, 2004

Free AND fair trade, with labor and environmental standards

Q: Should the US seek more free or liberalized trade agreements?

A: As president, I'll work to reverse the Bush manufacturing recession, break down trade barriers and open up new markets for American goods, and fight for free and fair trade. I will negotiate for fair labor and environmental standards in treaties. And when countries like China rip off our patents and products, exploit workers, and manipulate their currency, I will hold them accountable.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Trade" Jan 25, 2004

Avoid pro-business extremism and protectionist extremism

Q: Your views on worker rights in trade agreements?

LIEBERMAN: We've got to reject the extremism of George Bush and the extremism of Democrats who would put back walls of protectionism. And what's the extremism of George Bush? He just sits back and lets foreign countries break the rules of trade, rip off patents and copyrights, take American jobs, play with the currency. That's wrong. As president, I'm going to fight tough against that. But we can't create jobs by building up walls of protectionism. I looked at the stats in Iowa. One-fifth of the manufacturing jobs in this state. By the number I saw, more than 100,000 are dependent on trade. The top two and three markets for goods from Iowa, both agricultural-grown goods and manufactured -- Canada and Mexico, the countries we're in NAFTA with. You break NAFTA, you're going to cut out tens of thousands of jobs here in Iowa.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa Jan 4, 2004

Stop the hemorrhaging & enforce rules of trade

Q: How specifically quickly do you think you can provide actual jobs?

A: I always remember the Kennedy line that a rising tide raises all boats. And under Bush, the tide has dropped and a lot of boats have suffered. So I've said the first thing we've got to do, stop the hemorrhaging. And what does that mean? Get tough on foreign countries that are not playing by the rules of trade. And then be even more aggressive about opening up foreign markets for goods made here to create jobs here at home.

Source: Democratic 2004 Primary Presidential Debate in Durham NH Dec 9, 2003

Can't build walls and still create jobs

I'm for trade because trade creates jobs. You cannot build a wall around America and create one more job. The last president to try to do that was Herbert Hoover, and it led to the Great Depression. Bill Clinton understood that trade creates jobs. One in five jobs in America today is dependent on trade. I want to increase trade, I want to enforce other countries to play by the rules and that'll create more jobs.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

I'm for "Made in the USA" and sold abroad

Q: Do you wear the label "free trader" or "Made in America"?

LIEBERMAN: Made in the U.S. and sold abroad--that's what this is all about. I'm for trade because trade is all about breaking down barriers abroad so that we can sell more American-made goods there and make them here to create jobs.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan Sep 25, 2003

Bush Recession will become Dean Depression

LIEBERMAN: Dean said in an interview that he would not have bilateral trade agreements with any country that did not observe fully American standards. Now that would mean we'd break our trade agreements with Mexico & with most of the rest of the world. That would cost us millions of jobs. If that ever happened, I'd say that the Bush recession would be followed by the Dean depression.

DEAN: Our trade relations should rely on labor standards. It doesn't have to be American labor standards; it could be the International Labor Organization standards. We cannot continue to ship our jobs to countries where they get paid 50 cents an hour with no overtime, no labor protections and no right to organize.

LIEBERMAN: Dean, in The Washington Post, referred to American standards, not international standards.

DEAN: Either is fine with me.

LIEBERMAN: That's a reassuring change of position. I totally support the application of international labor standards to all of our bilateral trade agreements.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

I'm for fair trade for the Americas

Q: Do you support the FTAA--the Free Trade of the Americas?

LIEBERMAN: I certainly support the goal. American manufacturing is bleeding. The president [asked] China to stop linking their currency to the dollar, which is an unfair advantage they get over American manufacturing. Came back empty-handed. We can't do that. I'm for trade, but for fair trade. The same is true with regard to fair trade for the Americas and Latin America. We have turned our back on our allies to the south.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Protect manufacturing by federal Buy-American policy

Q: The senior senator from SC, Ernest Hollings, worked hard against NAFTA He says these free trade agreements are job killers. You voted for them. Why is Sen. Hollings wrong?

LIEBERMAN: There are two parts to this question. One is trade; the other is manufacturing. If we ever return to a protectionist policy on trade, we would devastate the American economy.

Americans are 4% of the world's population. There's only so much we can make and sell to one another. We've got to break down the barriers around the world to sell to the rest of the world products that are made here to create jobs for Americans.

The other problem, which is serious, is the decline of manufacturing in America. And as president, I will lead a major renewal of the American manufacturing sector, which goes to using tax credit, some of the ideas that Sen. Hollings had today. The American government, when it spends $2.25 trillion every year, ought to buy American-made goods, the extent it can. That's the place to begin.

Source: Democratic Debate in Columbia SC May 3, 2003

For Fast Track & open trade, with labor safeguards

Lieberman supports efforts to increase US exports. He has been a strong supporter of renewing fast track trade negotiating authority to give the President more power to broker foreign trade agreements and open new markets. He also supports establishing permanent normal trade relations with China. Yet Lieberman recognizes that there are trade-offs to open international trade. To offset the costs exacted on labor by globalization, Lieberman is a staunch advocate of education and re-training programs.
Source: Senate web site, “Issues Focus: Budget & Economy” Aug 7, 2000


Joseph Lieberman on China

Create incentives for China’s fairness, including WTO

Lieberman, co-author of the US-China Relations Act that would create new incentives in bilateral relations with China, spoke today of the importance of improving trade relations with China. “We have a love-hate trading relationship with China,” Lieberman said. “Our trade deficit with China will likely surpass our trade deficit with Japan this year. We can and must do better. And that fairness will come through international convention, not international confrontation, through accession to the WTO.”
Source: Press Release, “Embracing Incentive” Mar 5, 1998

Message to Beijing: We want WTO AND human rights